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24/04/2013

Legal Aid Agency FAQs*

The Legal Aid Agency has released a set of ‘frequently asked questions’ on scope and funding after 1 April just gone. A copy is here. The housing section is at 74-109

There are few surprises, but worthy of note is the position on disrepair:

81. Are damages regarding housing disrepair in scope? Can I claim for work regarding damages as part of the disrepair case?
You must refer to Schedule 1 of LASPO to identify whether a case is in scope and consider specific exclusions outlined in Part 2, Schedule 1. In relation to housing disrepair, Paragraph 35 Part 1, Schedule 1 only describes services in relation to the removal or reduction of the serious risk of harm to health, it does not outline any claim for damages. Damages arising from a disrepair claim will fall outside of scope and therefore must be funded separately from the injunction or order for repairs claim. If providers carry out both then it will be their responsibility to apportion the work and ensure that no legal aid claim is made for the out of scope work. An explanatory note should be maintained on the case file. Providers should note that if they do obtain a legal aid certificate the statutory charge will attach to any damages recovered in the same proceedings.

So, any damages claim will have to be otherwise funded from the start. Quite how that will work when a damages only claim will quite possibly fall under the new small claims limit of £10,000 is anyone’s guess. So, the LAA’s chances of recouping public funds via inter partes costs or statutory charge have been correspondingly diminished.

And don’t go thinking of getting a certificate for pre-issue or protocol stages

82. Should expert reports (e.g. surveyor reports) for Pre-Action Protocol on Housing Disrepair be claimed under legal help or legal representation?
Section 12 of the Lord Chancellors Guidance states that where services are provided at an early stage of the case to fund expert reports to investigate the merits of the claim, this work is claimed under legal help.

But on counterclaims to rent arrears possession claims:

83. Can a counterclaim for damages be in scope in respect of any other issue than serious disrepair?
Any counterclaim that is properly pleaded as a defence to possession proceedings is in scope, subject to the Part 2 exclusions set out in paragraph 33 of Part 1, Schedule 1.

Also, perhaps surprisingly in contrast, it looks like damages only unlawful eviction claims remain fully in scope.

85. Are damages for unlawful eviction in scope?
Damages for eviction are within scope. Paragraph 33 of Part 1, Schedule 1 describes civil legal services provided in relation to the eviction from the individual’s home of the individual or others and this therefore could include any damages relating to this. As with all cases you must refer to Schedule 1 of LASPO to identify whether a case is in scope and then consider specific exclusions outlined in Part 2, Schedule 1.

Lastly, the situation on dealing with housing benefit issues in a rent arrears possession claim is confirmed to be exactly as impossibly mad as we always thought:

107. Is all work relating to Housing Benefit out of scope even where it is used as a defence to possession proceedings?
Work to obtain or re-instate Housing Benefit is out of scope, see paragraph 15 of Part 2, Schedule 1 of LASPO. If issues regarding Housing Benefit have led to possession proceedings then legal aid will be available to advise the client on their possession matter. This could include obtaining witness statements in support of a client’s defence to a possession case. It could also include seeking an adjournment of possession proceedings to enable the client to resolve their Housing Benefit issues. However, as stated, legal aid will not be available to resolve the Housing Benefit issue itself. If providers carry out work in relation to Housing Benefit alongside a possession matter it will be their responsibility to apportion the work and ensure that no legal aid claim is made for the out of scope work.

The whole thing bears close reading, not least on the interaction with the telephone gateway on ‘debt’ (mortgage possession), harassment and discrimination cases, succession and quiet enjoyment.

*No, not those kind of frequently asked questions. They won’t answer those.

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

50 Comments

  1. Rosaleen Kilbane

    They do suggest in the reply to question 122 that you can apply for exceptional funding for those parts of the case which are out of scope. We at CLP will try to do this. Is anyone in a postition to monitor the results of such applications? I don’t expect our professional body will do anything so useful given the completely useless survey that they have devised in relation to the effect of LASPO cuts on clients with housing problems, which only asks about those clients facing possession proceedings whom you have turned away. Er, there are none.

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      Some of us are looking at monitoring at the moment, for various reasons. It may be something that HLPA tries to co-ordinate, I’ll pass on any details. I anticipate exceptional funding will be locked down tight. Reasons will be interesting.

      Reply
  2. Rosaleen Kilbane

    We also need to be careful when demotion of a tenancy is pleaded in the alternative to possession. The new standard wording for possession reads “to be represented in an action for possession of property and/or demotion of tenancy”, so you might be forgiven, had you granted emergency legal aid before the FAQs were published,for believing that you would be paid for the work you did in relation to the demotion claim. Not so, it seems, according to another FAQ and its response:

    “Is demotion of tenancy or demotion orders in or out of scope?
    Demotion of tenancy and demotion orders is out of scope.”

    Reply
  3. ELP

    Hi- are you taking on any damages only claims and is this under a CFA? With regard to disrepair joint damages claims are you just not billing for the work done in relation to the damages aspect?

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      Personally, I don’t think it is possible to run disrepair claims under legal aid anymore. Given that legal aid only extends to the urgent works and ends as soon as those works are done, the majority of the claim, for remaining works and damages, would have to be funded under a CFA anyway. The indemnity principle would apply on costs, so it couldn’t be done without some form of funding.

      Counterclaims to possession are another matter, as the whole counterclaim is funded.

      A damages only case would have to be clearly worth well over £10,000 to be considered for a CFA, as the small claims risk would otherwise be too high.

      Reply
  4. Chris Daniel

    Tenants making clearly spurious ‘counterclaims -even when alleged minor matters Have NOT been reported / notified to the landlord, are having their ‘whole Counterclaim to Possession funded by legal aid ! when is the Treasury going to wake up to this ploy ?

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      Bollocks.

      Legal aid funding requires reasonable prospects of success in such cases. If there aren’t at least 50% prospects, legal aid will not be granted.

      Issues of notice are issues of evidence. You would not believe how often landlords lie (or, charitably, forget) about being on notice. (I can safely say that social landlords do in 90% of cases I see).

      And it isn’t the Treasury. It is the MoJ/LAA. And they get legal aid repaid when the landlord loses.

      Reply
      • Jon

        Not bollocks at all. Happened to me. First I knew of disrepair was at s8 hearing ..tenant went off and managed to get legal aid based on his lie that I was verbally told, which clearly isn’t an issue of evidence as it’s one persons word against another. The judge also commented that all of that particular duty solicitors clients seem to be claiming disrepair….so yes it does happen

        Reply
        • Nearly Legal

          One person’s word against another’s is the very essence of an issue of evidence. That is the kind of question that judges evaluate all the time.

          My experience is that judges are unwilling to accept assertions of notice without documentary evidence. Even phone records showing calls being made are not accepted as sufficient. So, while it might be enough at first hearing – where there is often no evidence or pleaded defence and counterclaim – to get an adjournment and directions to a full hearing, it is unlikely to be successful.

          And getting a duty solicitor is not getting legal aid – there is no means or merit test for having a duty solicitor on the day. Getting legal aid funding for a counterclaim requires reasonable prospects of success – which means at least some evidence of notice.

  5. Jon

    The duty solicitor was at the first hearing. But they managed to go get legal aid for the second hearing with absolutely no evidence of notice. According to what you have stated about reasonable chance of success, a verbal notice will drastically reduce those chanceS so no idea how they got legal aid. My point was in response to your use of the word bollocks which seems to imply that this can’t happen. According to the judges comments and my own experience this abuse of the system does happen. What a Waste of my time, the courts time and of course the public purse. Especially when an solicitor dangles a 10k plus payout. That prospect of that sort of easy money can turn any good person bad
    I understand that a judges job is to grapple with peoples word. But this ambiguity in housing law really needs to be put to bed. Easily done in this case. Just put it in a tenancy agreement that only written notices are acceptable. I read on this site that a judge in a case pretty much done away with notice or the landlord should have reasonably known, which seems to be the backbone of disrepair cases. The judge said that a light fitting was so dangerous that the tenant in all probability must have reported. If this judgement was applied to my case I would haven screwed as the tenant seemed to happy to live in a dangerous pigsty.
    The ambiguity and confusion seems to extend Men of Law such as yourself and other solicitors commenting on here. If you guys are confused what chance has a landlord.

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      Jon, documentary evidence often doesn’t turn up until disclosure. If the tenant had said there was only verbal evidence, I’d usually not be confident on prospects. On the other hand, the solicitor may have felt that the tenant would be convincing in oral evidence.

      Did the tenant win in your case? Or not? If it is still underway, obviously I can’t comment further, because we only have your word on the facts…

      By the way, the only ones frequently dangling £10K plus payouts are claims farmers, who aren’t lawyers and often are grubby. Unless there is quite severe disrepair for two years on a £1K per month tenancy, it isn’t going to be £10K in damages.

      One person’s assertions against another’s isn’t a housing law problem. It is basically the issue in nearly every contested civil case. There is no ‘ambiguity’ to resolve. No confusion. It is just questions of disputed fact, which is what the courts deal with all the time.

      I have no idea what case you are referring to on the light fitting, I’ve not been able to find it. But if it was in the common parts, then the landlord is responsible without any notice from tenants.

      What you put in your tenancy agreements about written notice is neither here nor there, it won’t change the legal position on notice. Only legislation can do that. (The retaliatory eviction provisions require written notice of defects from the tenant, by the way.)

      What I said was bollocks, by the way, was Chris Daniel’s statement that this was frequent or routine. It was and is bollocks (and Chris Daniel had a business to promote, being one of those ‘not laywer’ eviction services, which might explain why he said it).

      I think that you are the only person to say ‘this happened to me’ in the seven years since this post was put up rather answers that point.

      Reply
      • Jon

        My overarching point was that they should never have got legal aid based on oral notice as the chances of them winning are very low according to your own comment. Leaves the the system open for abuse which you can’t seem to see.

        The case I mentioned https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/nearlylegal.co.uk/2020/04/not-signed-not-sealed-not-delivered/amp/

        Yes I might be the only one to comment in 7 years but there really no other comments so it’s not exactly a representative sample size of landlord grievances

        Reply
      • Jon

        The tenant lost

        Reply
      • Jon

        There is amguity to resolve in verbal notice. Put it in writing. Put it in legislation. Then there is no ambiguity and no chance for hard up tenants to abuse the public purse.

        By the way it wasn’t a claim farmer. But a so called respected housing firm.

        Reply
        • Giles Peaker

          Who dangled £10k? – you have no idea what they advised the tenant.

          There is no ‘ambiguity’ in notice. The requirements are perfectly clear. What you are complaining about is evidence, and that – oral or written – is always a matter for the court to decide. The number of landlord I’ve seen deny letters, emails or texts were ever received, or that an itemised phone call was about repairs is as long as your arm. “Not in our records so didn’t happen”. If you want that kind of defence to equally be banned, then we might agree.

          Abusing the public purse? How much do you think the total housing legal aid spend is? (All of it, homelessness, possession and illegal eviction?)

      • Jon

        The post didn’t come across as promotion of a business. More an opinion of an individual

        Reply
        • Giles Peaker

          Chris has a history.

  6. possessionfrienduk

    Pretty much all Housing qualifies for legal Aid. – and I was offering my Opinion.
    You or anyone else Giles are free to disagree and by doing so in the manner you have has only shown you up. Yes I have a business and everyone promotes their business, although I wasn’t doing that ! just commenting my opinion under my own name, stopping just short of alleging that legal aid lawyers are fleecing Tax-payers. Course you didn’t like that assertion and so had to retaliate. ( and its true I’m not a lawyer, but have sued lawyers successfully for bungling my clients cases )
    Of course as a Tenant defence, left-wing solicitor, you believe all Tenants and think all landlords are wrong.

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      Chris

      Well done. Wrong in every respect.
      1. Post LASPO only homelessness, possession and illegal eviction are covered by legal aid, and then only if the tenant meets the means test (ie, is extremely low income).
      2. You didn’t stop short of making that allegation, which was why I called you out on it. It was and remains bollocks. Legal iad rates are so low that the number of practices (and funded cases) are shrinking rapidly every year. The idea that people would have to make up work when there is a huge amount of cases that aren’t getting represented is laughable. What you are really criticising are the claims farmers, the non-legally qualified who seek to profit off L&T disputes by making dubious allegations. Odd, isn’t it, how many non-legally qualified people seek to profit of L&T cases by making dubious allegations?
      3. I hardly do any legal aid work any more. I do a bit, because it is important, but effectively it is at a loss. What you are completely unable to grasp is that I act for tenants and also sometimes for landlords. That is because I am a lawyer, skilled in my field. I do law. You, I’m afraid to say, from your own account, don’t. You do ‘opinion’ regardless of the facts, which is not a good position for anyone supposedly advising.

      Reply
      • Jon

        This is another example of ambiguity and confusion allowing claim farmers to profit. From my recent research the landlords are paying up in droves without a fair trial, scared stiff of ridiculously high payouts and costs as I was. And leniency towards the tenant and of course the idea of the landlord bogeyman.
        If landlords feel like they can’t even go to trial and instead payout in the thousands doesn’t that point to a deficiency in the law?

        Reply
  7. possessionfrienduk

    just the Tenant lost Jon ( also the Tax-payer ) Legal Aid lawyer got paid tho !!!

    Reply
    • Jon

      Extactly my point. I lost too. More unpaid rent. Legal costs. That I will never recoup. I

      Reply
      • Giles Peaker

        Ah, on that, if you were awarded costs, subject to the court’s permission, you can enforce them if former tenant earning or otherwise comes into funds. And you can of course enforce any rent arrears found in the judgment.

        Reply
        • Jon

          I think we both know that’s not gonna happen. It’s a deprived area. Just would be throwing good money after bad

    • Giles Peaker

      Which is the point about probabilities. Not certainties. (and they got paid peanuts, less than a third of costs payable if they had won.)

      Reply
  8. possessionfrienduk

    We’ve disagreed in the past Giles ( as have others who you’ve blocked ) Moving past a disagreement is the professional and grown up way to deal with things. I can, can you ?

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      You haven’t. Clearly. I’ve blocked others for basically being trolling arses.

      Reply
      • Giles Peaker

        Let me be clear, Chris. You have spent quite a lot of time both here and on other sites making untrue, defamatory allegations about me, my practice and my intentions in, for example, my work on the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act. A number of those comments would have be actionable in defamation law (you went way beyond ‘opinion’). I didn’t bother because you were clearly a buffoon, but you have never corrected or apologised. Don’t come back to me asking for ‘moving past disagreement’.

        Reply
  9. possessionfrienduk

    Why less than a third of the costs if they’d won ? ( I don’t understand the intricacies of legal Aid payment )

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      Then why the hell are you sounding off on it as if you did? And if you are purporting to assist landlords facing this kind of counterclaim, shouldn’t you know? Or be rather negligent?

      I shall educate you. Legal Aid rates are, on a contested case with a funding certificate, £63 per hour, total. If the case is won, then costs would be sought from the losing landlord at inter partes rates, which vary, but basically between £160 and £290 per hour, plus VAT. It is therefore – on a disrepair counterclaim – very much in the tenant’s lawyers interests to win.

      £63 per billable hour for a law practice is not sustainable by itself. Out of that comes VAT, insurance, office rent, equipment, IT and stationery costs, staff wages including non-fee earning support staff, and tax. Much bigger overheads and lower hourly rate than a plumber.

      Reply
      • Jon

        Ok so I seem to have stepped into the middle of some personal feud. You two need kiss and make up since one person has extended an olive branch.

        I know about the amounts because they were boasting about it to certain people who in turn told me

        Regarding you points in reply to mines Giles.. I am not talking about what the judge might decide. I understand that part. I think you missed the point again. My question was more specifically about the granting of legal aid. I will be more specific:
        You said a case needs 50% chance of success to get access to legal aid
        You also said if its only Verbal Notice then chance of success are low. So how did my ex tenants get legal Aid??? Was it sorcery by the solicitor… was the case Massaged a little. The arguments in this thread are specifically about getting legal aid with little or no evidence and not what a judge might decide.

        The bit about itemised billing confused me. How can anyone know what was said in a phone call. They could’ve been talking about the weather….. and seems to contradict what you said further up about judges not accepting phone calls as evidence

        P.s I think people should stay off blogs and comments late on a sat night after maybe that one extra glass of vino they shouldn’t have had

        Reply
        • Giles Peaker

          If any solicitor had bandied about that kind of damages in a situation where the figure was unlikely (and as I said, it would need serious disrepair over a couple of years on a £1K per month rent to be in the region of that level of damages), then I would be critical of them. However, as this apparently came from someone telling someone else, I’ll take it with a pinch of salt. Could easily have been the person talking it up to others. It is also unlikely that the solicitor would talk it up for reasons of client expectation management. You don’t want an unhappy client when and if the claim results in less. (I also have to say that legal aid housing practices are few and getting fewer. They are overwhelmed with potential work and turn people away all the time. There is absolutely no need to dangle a promise of damages to get people to go with a case. Again, that is an issue with claims farmers, for whom I have no time – https://nearlylegal.co.uk/2019/08/we-need-to-talk-about-claims-farmers/ )

          I gave you an answer on the verbal notice point – even if it was clear that it was verbal notice only at that point (it may not have been, and documentary evidence usually comes out later on), then the solicitor may have taken the view that the client was a reasonably convincing witness. 50% prospects means 50/50, after all – that you won doesn’t mean it was always 0/100.

          Itemised billing at least shows that the tenant contacted the landlord and when. It is hardly conclusive but would support an account of oral notice. What, on the balance of probabilities, was the phone call about? What do tenants call landlords or agents about? So, at the least, it requires an explanation of what it was about from the landlord/agent.

          Claims and counterclaims are rarely certain – this is in the end the point. Trials are even less certain.

  10. possessionfrienduk

    I say my opinion Giles, mostly in a professional manner I like to think, however our disagreements have ( Both ) gone down in tone in the past. I have an aweful lot of landlords experiences with Tenants and you have a lot of legal knowledge. You also have a very good blog site but we’re clearly not always going to agree. I have been blocked from receiving email updates of your blogs.
    I think our experiences and different opinions ( leaving out personalities ) can only enrich your blog and I’d like to continue my opinions without either of us resorting to insults. ( P.S. I do work with some solicitors )

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      I haven’t blocked you from getting email updates. I’ll check the subscriber lists. (update – if it was a gmail account, the lists had it down as unsubscribed. I’ve changed that).

      Chris, you have repeatedly accused me (although without having the courage to do so to my face) of working on bringing the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act into law out of self interest as a legal aid lawyer. That is not expressing a professional opinion, it is making an unfounded and defamatory allegation as to my actions and motivations. And here you are, doing something similar again:

      “Of course as a Tenant defence, left-wing solicitor, you believe all Tenants and think all landlords are wrong.”

      I am very happy to have professional discussions with everyone in the field, and I have very good relations with a lot of landlord firms, landlord bodies and agents etc. As I mentioned, I do work for landlords and freeholders, I’ve worked for the RLA (as was). If my political views had any impact on my assessment of a client’s case, or the opposing case, then I would be an astonishingly poor lawyer. I hope we can agree that I am not a poor lawyer.

      But, Chris, while I am happy to go with an olive branch being offered, it is going to need an apology from you.

      Reply
  11. possessionfrienduk

    Somewhere around £250 was my guess, but it never affects a landlords case ( as to how much the defence solicitor trousers ) But thank you.

    Reply
  12. themaluka

    I cannot believe the offensive language and unwarranted accusations being used by an alleged professional thoughout this blog, he should hang his head in shame.

    Reply
    • Jon

      What are you on about? I don’t see any offensive language or baseless accusations being made. We are having a discussion based on our experience in the housing market Questions are being asked and answered to try clarify matters.

      Reply
      • themaluka

        Let us staret with

        “Giles Peaker on 25/02/2018 at 9:55 pm

        Bollocks.”

        Reply
        • Jon

          You need to get out a bit more… it was used as an expressive term and not aimed at anyone in a derogatory manner… so bollocks to starting with that!

    • Giles Peaker

      I will spare you being troubled by it in the future.

      Reply
  13. possessionfrienduk

    Agreed Jon ( and I’m Tee-total, not drank for 20 years )

    Reply
  14. Jon

    Thanx for your answer Giles
    My ex tenant would call me about all sorts of things as she was an immigrant who saw me as someone more knowledgeable about how the country works so things are not always as clear cut

    YOur answer on the notice issue just reinforces my view that ithe s8 counterclaim is open to abusE, maybe not as much as Chris thinks, especially when legal aid funded.As it stands Anyone can state I verbally told him, then get funded hoping for a payout and it costing them nothing all the while costing the landlord another couple of grand in lost rent and legal fees for another hearing and of course possibly wasting the courts time

    My view is that if they have little to no evidence let them bring a case with their own money if they have faith in their assertions. If they have sold evidence at the outset then of course the landLord has to answer and should be funded By legal aid.

    Section 8 definitely needs tightening up to protect it from unscrupulous tenants/ solicitors

    Hypothetically speaking if a tenant came to your firm on s8 disrepair counterclaim and stated categorically that it was verbal notice only, would you offer legal aid?

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      Jon – any legal proceedings are potentially open to abuse. Here’s a different example.

      But by and large, all it does it rack up the liability when the ‘abuser’ loses.

      Legal aid is not often abused, for the reasons I’ve given. I won’t say it can’t and doesn’t happen – there will always be instances, but it is not frequent. Usually the solicitor are filters for a bad case. It is much more frequent, in my experience, for someone who is paying their solicitors to insist on bringing a bad case, for whatever collateral or personal reasons they might have, or just because they hate their opponent and are willing to pay to make their life difficult (or, of course, in the hope that they can win by outspending them, exhausting their resources. That happens a lot in company and commercial cases).

      Section 8 is fine – (well, I have other problems with it, but not that one). It is a basic principle that anyone can bring a defence to the claim against them. The court then decides on that defence and on the claim at trial. There is no practical way to set an evidence threshold to bringing a defence – you can’t have a mini-trial before a defence is allowed, and, as I said, often key evidence emerges in the proceedings through disclosure, often key evidence is held by the opponent and has to be produced. (Most claims farmers aren’t interested in counterclaims. Outside their skill set and they don’t understand the issues). If the defence is truly weak, there is the option for the claimant of an application for summary judgment.

      It is an imperfect system, any justice system is (particularly when, as now, the courts are hugely underfunded and understaffed). But any adjustment on evidence and defence thresholds to avoid bad defences, while it might benefit the claimants, will at the same time unfairly rule out perfectly good defences which should be heard. That isn’t a landlord/tenant issue, that is civil proceedings generally. So there are mechanisms built in to enable early challenges to wholly unmeritorious defences/claims. If in your case the tenant had not actually evidenced that there was disrepair that would be a strike out application right there.

      If a tenant came to me, I would ask a lot of questions, about how long the problems had gone on, when the landlord, agents or any contractors last inspected or attended, when and how they gave notice, whether any adjoining properties had related issues and the same landlord and if they had told the landlord, and so on. Depending on the answers, I might or might not take it on.

      Reply
      • Jon.

        Ok so the legal complexities are slightly bamboozling me now so I’m hoping my naivety and innocence will filter out those compLexities and ask a pertinent question.
        If I’ve understood correctly, you are saying that if evidence of notice is not provided then a landlord could have it struck out. Is that correct? If it is then it just leads back to what I said earlier which is.. if it can get struck out so easily how the hell did it reach the 50% threshold to be granted legal aid.. apologies if I’ve understood incorrectly

        It seems so easy in my legally untrained mind. When a tenant first goes to a solicitor he must already know if he has provided written notice to Landord.
        You want legal aid then provide that notice to your solicitor. If yo can’t provide it then no legal aid for you. But I think that maybe way to simplistic for you legal types hmmm

        Anyway. Hope you get your issues resolved with Chris I have no idea who he is but I do believe opposing views can bring more clarity.

        Reply
        • Giles Peaker

          The first point is that written notice isn’t required. Oral notice is perfectly good notice.

          Practically, of course, oral notice is much harder to evidence if it is disputed.

          The second thing is that often key documentary evidence of notice is held by the landlord and only turns up at the stage of disclosure in contested proceedings. So, the documentary evidence won’t be available at the initial stage.

          As with the case linked to in my last reply, it is never black and white at the start – there was no tenant evidence of notice and the landlord denied everything – but the eventual finding was that the landlord had lied about everything, while trying and failing to character assassinate the tenant.

          So, no, it isn’t simple, and there are no clear cut rules. That is life, and the justice system attempts, by and large, to deal with life.

          A strike out or summary judgment application could be made where the defence didn’t actually give any details of a viable defence. In your case, it appears that there was evidenced disrepair, but the only issue was notice? In which case, that is something that goes to trial, as being for the court’s assessment of the credibility of witnesses and supporting evidence.

  15. possessionfrienduk

    Look Giles, I gave my strong opinions about Tenants and the FFHH, you gave as good back, ( wouldn’t expect anything else ) and by the way, I don’t recall ever bad-mouthing your firm. I am a Landlord representative and advisor and some solicitors are fine with me doing Housing work without being a qualified solicitor and there’s no law against it. Some solicitors however see non-legally qualified practitioners as ‘taking work away from them’ The only criticism you’ve ever seemed to lay against me is being a Non-legally qualified practitioner. When I took one of my cases at a late stage to a solicitor as it necessitated court representation, she said why didn’t I deal with it myself, as I seemed more than capable – of course its the old boys rights of audience issue which I don’t get at tribunals.
    All my clients are happy with my services and speak highly of me ( they don’t think I’m a Baboon – is that actionable by the way, you gotta have a sense of humour working in Housing Giles ;-)

    You work in the opposite field to me, ( as I see it ) defending tenants who haven’t paid rent or have trashed the property. We’re often going to have different views which if we Both keep our cool, can only serve to stimulate debate on your site ( which has a lot of landlords followers )
    There will be things that we might agree upon, for example the historic Care in the Community decades ago which has turfed often single people out into primarily PRS housing, many of which the single property owning landlords are not equipped to deal with. I think the contemporary euphemism is ‘complex needs’ but everyone will rally to defend such tenants and point the finger at the landlord when the inevitable eviction is brought to court.

    There is so much central and local govt policy funding decisions that impact far more on housing than the botched legislation coming out of the govt – MHCLG ( I’m sure you’d agree with that ? )
    I had the bottle to come up and introduce myself to you at a conference after we had exchanged the online spat about FFHH.
    Its up to you Giles. I would like to continue debate on Housing with each saying if and why we disagree, without resorting to personalities. After each’s reasons and there’s still a difference of view, so be it. It hasn’t got to be commented to the death.
    Chris

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      Chris

      You can have whatever opinions you like about the H(FFHH)A, of course. What you don’t get to do without comeback is make spurious allegations about my intentions and motivations in working on it.

      It is quite simple, you apologise for those false comments and insinuations, and we can go on arguing in a professional manner about all sorts of things. Or you don’t, and we don’t and you get the consequences.

      Reply
  16. possessionfrienduk

    And you don’t get to slag me and my company off and call me a baboon without an apology, think on.

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      I didn’t slag your company off. I merely said what it was, perfectly accurately. I made no comment whatsoever on your company’s abilities or work.

      I didn’t call you a baboon. I simply said, as an expression of opinion, that in making the comments that you did, you were a buffoon.

      Only one of us has made false and defamatory statements of fact. And it isn’t me.

      You can slag off the Act all you like. I will disagree, but that is a view you are perfectly entitled to hold. You don’t get to make false statements of fact about me, though, not without consequences.

      Reply
  17. Jon

    I do understand that verbal notice can be a valid notice. My whole contention is that verbal notice combined with legal aid can be recipe for disaster. I am convinced that my case along with probably many others wouldn’t see the light of day without legal aid, EVEN if the tenant had money to bring the case. I don’t think they would risk their own money on a “weak” case. And hopefully they would be advised by people like you that their case was weak as you have already said.

    Anyway. I fear we going to go around in circles as we have opposing views and I am a landlord who has been stung by this costing me thousands. And so I thank you for time and replies. It has been enlightening

    Reply

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